Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking or speaking in public, 82% of Americans polled by a Harvard Psychological Study in 2014, put this higher than being scared of snakes, spiders or flying. Though it is something we all do everyday, whether we are speaking to one, ten, one hundred or thousands of people, and on a variety of subjects. However, as human beings we also fear rejection, on a one to one basis it is bad enough, but when you have multiples in a room that fear is multiplied by the number of people. If it is so daunting, why do so many people want to do it?
Effective, powerful communication is the No.1 required skill globally by recruiters, business owners and entrepreneurs, how well you can express yourself, your ideas or your product has a direct effect on your bottom line profit, and in many cases whether or not a company flourishes, or crumbles. Imagine, you have a company that is well positioned with its competitors, in product, price and service, the one difference you have is you present better than your competition and so engage your client and your success average increases, thus client by client you will bring in new clients and more revenue.
Many people look at professionals like Tony Robbins, Patricia Fripp or Jim Rohn, and think they have a gift, they can stand there and speak easily to many thousands of people in an audience effortlessly. There is no “overnight” success, there are no “miracle chances,” but what is certainly true, the harder you work at it, the more opportunities knock at your door. Tony Robbins started selling tickets to Jim Rohn seminars, Patricia Fripp was a hairdresser, but both learnt, engaging their clients and honing their craft, made a huge difference.
When designing a presentation, you are involved in a messy process, it is not just getting the PowerPoint ready and typing away, start with your Premise (main idea – message), then work outwards, looking for details and support for the premise. Look at the damage/problem that is being caused and offer the solution, get people engaged from the start.
Use your own experience, knowledge and information, then look to others and other information to support you. Generally as a presenter/facilitator, and not as a public speaker, using your notes is not an issue, unless you are stuck with your nose to the paper and have no engagement with your audience. Unwritten rule, never read from the slides, they should contain minimal information, one picture speaks volumes.
Organise your presentation, in a logical sequence and choose your words carefully to incorporate your audience, if you are speaking to CEOs, Senior Management your time will be limited, if you are technical and presenting to colleagues using professional jargon is acceptable, but not if your audience is not familiar with the terms. If your audience is of mixed nationalities, test your pace and audience’s understanding, just by asking in they can hear you clearly, clarify any unusual words and provide hand outs if appropriate so they can take notes. Or hands can be given at the end to support your material and presentation, whichever is more relevant for your audience and your presentation.
Use one or two clear fonts, don’t get complicated, use company colours/logos and information where appropriate. Beware of plagiarism, many more people have access to information nowadays, so if you use other people’s work, give them the credit, it also shows support for your idea from another source.
Remember, visual aid is an aid it is not the presentation, you are the focal key. Always check you have two versions of your presentation, maybe laptop and USB, if one fails you are not stuck, make sure you have extra batteries and anything you are going to use is fully charged.
There are many ways to combat nerves when speaking, but nothing conquers nerves like preparation, planning and practice. The more you are sure of your topic the more confident you come across. This day and age there are many ways to practice, record, video and talk in front of friends/family or practice groups. Many people say I don’t like to watch myself, or I don’t like to listen to myself…… if you don’t; why should you think others will want to. It is your job to engage the audience, not their job to seek your information.
Internalize rather than memorize, this way you can be conversational and present, without racking your brains…. What comes next? Be sincere, be you and be perceptive of your audience, if they are making notes from a slide, or laughing at a quip give them time to catch up.
Always fully write your opening and your close, as I was ingrained from Ms Fripp last words linger, so never closed on and question and answer session, you can’t control that, finish then close your presentation with information you want the audience to take away, revisiting your opening is always a way to round off.
Plan, prepare and practice are your golden keys, take them away and use them in all of your presentations and I would love to hear what a difference was made and your successful outcomes.